Desmodium heterocarpon. Photo copyright © 2014 by R. Bedoya
One of the most shade tolerant leguminous cover/forage crops. Grows well under the heavy shade of rubber and oil palm plantations.
Morphological description. An aggressively creeping, stoloniferous legume that may reach 1 m height in dense stands. Stems are multi-branched but quite woody at their base. Young plants always have single broadly elliptical leaves; on more mature plants leaves may be unifoliate or trifoliate, with terminal leaflet larger than laterals. Terminal leaflets 30-45 mm by 15-30 mm without any markings, glabrous and glossy on upper surface, pilose underneath. Inflorescence is a densely flowered raceme 2-5 cm long, with purple to dark pink flowers, turning bluish with age. Pods comprised of 2-8 segments, 3 mm long, covered in dense hairs; held in a dense, erect cluster; dehiscent when ripe. Mature seeds yellow.Read more: Desmodium heterocarpon